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UPDATE 1-Bad debt release boosts Czech bank Komercni's profits
November 8, 2012 / 2:42 PM / in 5 years

UPDATE 1-Bad debt release boosts Czech bank Komercni's profits

* Results helped by releasing several provisions

* Operating result disappointing, shares underperform

* Net provisioning expected to rise going forward (Adds comments by Chief Risk Officer, background)

By Jana Mlcochova

PRAGUE, Nov 8 (Reuters) - A momentary drop in bad loan provisioning helped Komercni Banka more than double third-quarter net profits, although it warned that provisions are expected to rise again in the coming quarters, the bank said on Thursday.

Net profit in the three months rose by 112 percent to 3.32 billion crowns ($166 million), just below the average forecast of 3.47 billion given in a Reuters poll of analysts but well above last year’s result, which was distorted by a large impairment charge placed on Greek government bonds.

Provisions at the country’s third-largest bank by assets, which is 61 percent-owned by France’s Societe Generale , fell by 87.4 percent to 365 million crowns on a year ago, but the net figure was also helped by releases of large provisions on corporate loan losses, the bank said.

However gross operating income fell by 10.4 percent to 4.47 billion crowns as trading income dropped by 23.5 percent on a year ago to 624 million crowns and net interest income dipped by 2.2 percent to 5.46 billion. Income from net fees and commissions decreased by 8.4 percent to 1.67 billion.

Chief Risk Officer Aurelien Viry said he did not expect the positive impact from provisioning to be so marked in the coming quarters after the lender has released most its past large provisions.

“In 2011 and 2012 we have seen significant levels of release (of provisions) on exposures (to companies) which got into trouble during the previous crisis in 2009,” he told reporters.

“The consequence is that the net (provisioning) will be much higher than it has been during the second and the third quarter.”

He said the bank expected the cost of risk, which measures net provisions against total loans in the range of 0.2 to 0.25 percentage points in the corporate sector in the fourth quarter, or 300 million crowns. It would be an increase from 0.08 percentage points in the third quarter.

In the retail sector the bank also expects provisions to rise as the overall macroeconomic picture is bleak.

The economy fell into recession at the end of 2011 as household and government spending plunged due to fiscal tightening.

Czech companies, mostly exporters, are struggling to sell their products in the debt crisis-hit euro zone and holding back on new investment.

Employment in the industrial sector fell by 0.8 percent in September while the nominal wage dipped by 0.3 percent.

Viry said that in its retail business the bank expected the cost of risk to rise to 0.8-1.0 percentage points in the first half of 2013 from around 0.7 percentage points in the fourth quarter.

Komercni’s share price was down 1.7 percent at 3,795 crowns by 1430 GMT, when the Prague market’s PX index was down 0.7 percent. ($1=19.9173 Czech crowns) (Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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